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The Costa del Sol in southern Spain has been a popular holiday destination for many years, boasting over 320 days of sunshine each year. The mild climate on the Costa del Sol makes it possible to enjoy the long stretches of sandy beaches, and partake in a wide variety of outdoor activities, all year round.

The world renowned resorts of Marbella and Puerto Banus are nearby with their famous nightlife and impressive harbours.

Other popular local destinations within Andalucia include Mijas and Ronda, which are traditional Spanish towns in the surrounding mountainside.

The pretty harbour of Cabopino is just a five minute drive away.

To the east is Fuengirola, with its superb beach, water park, zoo, and the Myramar shopping mall.

Benalmadena has its own marina, sea-life centre, and the famous Tivoli World theme park (pictured left).

Further afield is Gibraltar (don't forget to take your passports!), or why not visit the historic Alhambra Palace in Granada; well worth the hour and a half drive.

Some excellent skiing is available in the Sierra Nevada resort (near Granada) in the winter months.

The area is also known as the "Costa de Golf" and, for golfers, there is an abundance of courses and facilities nearby to choose from. Within a five minute drive of the apartment is Miraflores Golf Club; a fine 18-hole course with views of the mountains and the Mediterranean. Many other superb courses are within around a 15 - 20 minute drive away, with the world-famous championship courses such as Valderrama within easy driving distance.

Extensive sea sports and activities are also available locally, including water skiing, windsurfing, and of course, dolphin watching!

Other attractions include the Parque Aquatico Mijas, a superb water park for adults and children of all ages, and Fuengirola Zoo (both only a 10 - 15 minute drive away); Tivoli World, the largest amusement park on the Costa del Sol with over 40 rides plus musical shows, exhibitions and restaurants (25 minutes away by car). The Selwo Safari Park can be found in Estepona (about 25 minutes drive away).

An excellent Saturday night out can be had in the summer months at Mijas Race Course. You can watch the racing, have a bet on the tote, and dine under the stars whilst waiting to collect your winnings! Only a 15 minute drive.

One of the jewels of the Costa del Sol, and just 15 minutes' drive from the apartment, is the beautiful little village of Mijas, which nestles comfortably in the mountainside at 428 meters above sea level. Many artists and writers have made it their home, enjoying the benefits of an excellent all year round climate, without being part of the busier, more commercial coastal towns just 7 kilometres down the mountain side. Despite its huge popularity with tourists, Mijas Pueblo has somehow managed to retain much of its traditional Andalucian way of life; the locals displaying their unabashed passion for all things festive and an unmistakable relaxed "manana" outlook on anything that can be put off for another day. The craft shops have some wonderful hand made pottery and often affordable paintings and prints by acclaimed local artists, such as Don Clarke and Michele Lehmann. A holiday memento could turn out to be a sound investment. The Mijas Village Tourist Office, (Plaza Virgen de la Pena) Tel: + (00 34) 952 485820.

Beaches on the Costa del Sol (West)

In addition to being situated right on the beach itself, Playa de Lucera has many fine beaches close by. The Mediterranean Sea here is warm and safe. Many of the nearby towns have recently modernised "paseo maritimos" (promenades). If you want them, there is no shortage of bars and restaurants nearby, plus plenty of nightlife. Here are some details of some of the local beaches:

Calahonda

This is the longest of the Mijas Costa beaches at over 4,500 meters long and 25 meters wide. Since it is right at the foot of the large Sitio de Calahonda urbanization, it is a well used beach, with ramp access, many beach bars and lots of activity, but it also has some quieter corners for those who prefer a bit of piece and quiet. This beach is perfect for the whole family and caters for sunbathers, scuba divers and fishermen alike. It is a fairly straight line of beach with golden sand and plenty of beach beds and parasols for rent and a good choice of lively beach bars for refreshment and entertainment.

La Cala Beach (Las Doradas)

This 35 meter wide and almost 2,000 meter long beach, with south and south west orientation, won the E.U. Blue Flag award in 2002. This is a lovely semi-urban beach in summer and winter alike, with a very nice promenade and plenty of good beach bars and restaurants along the way.

There are beach beds and parasols for hire, public toilets and changing facilities available and showers at various points along the beach, as well as numerous public telephones.

In the summer period there is a lifeguard service and the beach is accessible to the disabled. There is plenty of parking, but it can sometimes become difficult and congested at the peak of the high season in July and especially August. The hire of water sports gear is in abundance in summer, but less evident in from the end of October to Easter, when the beach is quieter. However, a warm December day sees many Christmas holidaymakers and residents soaking up the pleasant sunshine after a fine turkey lunch!

El Faro Beach

At the Calaburra point, El Faro beach has tow steep rock face areas and over 1,000 meters stretch of sandy beach. You can see most of the beach from the main road. It is popular with underwater swimming enthusiasts. There is a beach bar, and sun beds for hire. This is also a favourite beach for people who like to fish from the shore and you will often see the long fishing rods set up late into the night and tents set up for an all night vigil, ensuring a fresh fish breakfast.

Like other beaches in along Mijas Costa, this one is kept as clean as possible with regular collection from the litter bins.

 

El Egido Beach
 
The beach which meets up with the mouth of the river Fuengirola (below the castle Sohail) is the Egido Beach. It is 300 meters long, with safe swimming conditions, a beach bar and the hire of beach beds. There are litter bins and the beach is kept clean and tidy by the Mijas Town Hall authorities.
Sohail Castle
 
 
 
The beach at Sunset
Butiplaya Beach

Along from La Cala Beach is Butiplaya (sometimes referred to as Torrevieja Beach) at 35 meters wide and covering over 1,500 meters in length. Its orientation of southwest and, like La Cala, has lifeguard vigilance during the summer months. This is a safe beach and is in a semi urban area, where there are usually holidaymakers or residents around during the whole year. This beach was also awarded the E.U. Blue Flag in 2002, for its high level of cleanliness and good facilities.

 

 
 
 
El Cabo Rocoso Beach
 
 
This rocky beach is clearly defined by the ancient watchtower which marks natural border between Calahonda and La Cala. The beach is next to the Playa Marina urban complex and it is somewhat quieter than the other Mijas Costa beaches, probably due to the rocks at the water's edge. This is a very pleasant beach for morning walks all year round and is also frequented by those who like to snorkel or go under water swimming and surfing. As well as the hire of such water sport equipment, there are beach beds for hire and there is a kiosk selling snacks and drinks.

El Charcon Beach

This quiet 940 meter stretch of beach where you can hire a beach bed to enjoy a quiet corner of sun is just to the west of El Faro. There are litter bins, with regular collection, but it is always appreciated if you take away as much rubbish as you can to keep up the high standards of clean beaches for everyone. The beach is sandy and is south facing. 

Piedra del Cura Beach

This is a rugged, rocky part of the coastline and leads into the El Faro beach to the west. It is 195 meters long and is a very popular area for scuba divers and underwater swimming. The conditions are excellent for this type of sport, but it is always advisable to take safety precautions, using the correct apparatus and never swimming alone. The beach is well maintained and kept clean by regular rubbish collection from the litter bins available.

 

La Carihuela, Torremolinos

So much has been said about Torremolinos that it is difficult to add more. Don't be prejudiced, head straight into the thick of it. The prom has been recently modernised. Arrive early (9am) and observe that there is still a 'village' here that slowly wakes up and carries out its chores. By 11am it is hidden away.

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